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Winder Considerations for Maximum ROI


Most high-production environments today demand winders that are designed for continuous run application while maintaining high-quality rolls. Minimal operator intervention through the use of an automatic cut & transfer feature has become the normal mode of operation.


Winders can be divided into three basic categories: Surface (or contact) winders, turret (or centre) winders and combination of surface and centre, commonly referred to as “Gap Winding”. Macro Engineering provides all of these types of winders, standard or custom-designed. For successful results, choosing the right winder for a particular application is vital. As a supplier, we help customers to carefully select the best type of winder and options for their unique application. We will discuss the advantages and limitations of each type of winder.



Surface Winders


What is Surface Winding? – The windup roll is rotated by means of friction when pressure is applied from an adjacent driven drum roller. Since the surface speed of windup roll is always equal of the surface speed for the driven drum roller, tension control is simplified and less costly. For example, smaller motors can be used. Surface winders are most appropriate for large diameter rolls and flexible films. A limitation for most surface winders is that the film can only be wound in one direction. (NOTE: Recently, Macro Engineering and another company in Germany started supplying surface winders with Reverse Winding features). The addition of the centre-assist option will render the surface winder suitable for winding tacky or slippery films with minimal tension and very soft rolls.



Features to consider when buying a surface winder:

  • Independent tension control between lower nip rollers and each winding drum

  • Full control of film tensions and speed during cut and transfer cycle 

  • Patented automatic “Rising-Knife” cut- off

  • Spreader rollers mounted prior to each wind up

  • Automatic uploading of finished roll 

  • Automatic positioning of shaft with new core, without operator assistance

  • Line speeds to 600 FPM (183 MPM) 

  • Up to 70” (1778mm) rolls diameter 

  • Maximum face width up to 30’ (9M) 

  • Reverse winding option

  • Driven cooling rollers to cool the film evenly before wind up to eliminate post-extrusion shrinkage 

  • Gap winding (combination of centre-driven and surface winder) to allow the winding of slippery or tacky films

  • Slitting assemblies for the production of edge-slit sheeting, edge-trimmed sheeting or multiple rolls from one web 

  • “Flying-Knife” cut off for heavy or difficult-to-cut films 

  • Second counter for cumulative index or length count

  • Taper tension control

  • Multiple empty core magazine 

  • Stretch film modification package which includes special nip rollers to eliminate tension created by separation of tacky or blocked film 

  • Overhead empty shaft handling 

  • Fully automatic shaft and roll handling 

  • Swing-out air shafts 

  • Hydraulic unloading of finished roll for smaller face width winders

  • Automatic roll hardness adjustment through taper contact pressure control 

  • Fully automatic core insertion



Advantages of Surface Winders vs. Centre Winders:


  • Relatively simple tension control & drive systems
  • Easy to maintain low tension during cut & transfer cycle 
  • Produce large diameter rolls economically 
  • Less expensive than turret (centre) winders
  • Low maintenance 
  • Simple to operate
  • Limitation of Surface vs. Centre:
  • Not recommended for rigid or slippery films 
  • Not very suitable for all films and very high speeds 
  • Difficult to wind very soft rolls because surface winding is based on friction between the drum and film roll, therefore there must be a sufficient amount of contact pressure on the roll  (Note: This can be overcome with the use of gap winding)


Turret Winders



Centre winders are recommended for rapid indexing, rigid or slippery films. The greatest advantage of the Automatic Centre Winder is that the web can be easily wound and transferred in both directions, when required. For the same diameter roll, centre winders are generally more expensive than surface. A further improvement in quality winding is the so called “Gap Winding” technique. Gap winding combines the advantages of both centre and surface winding. The web is brought to the roll by a driven roller, usually a lay-on roll. The spindle is driven separately and a small gap is maintained between the driven roller and winding roll. This feature is specifically used for very thin or tacky films, such as : stretch films; shrink films; and PP cast films, to allow for shrinkage.



Features to consider when buying a turret winder:

  • Shaftless winding

  • Maximum roll diameter 

  • Roll Handling

  • Core diameter

  • Tapered tension

  • Tapered pressure 

  • Gap winding & Kiss winding 

  • Auto cut-off in both directions 

  • Flying knife cut-off

  • Tapeless transfer

  • Driven spreader roll 

  • Shaft prerotation

  • Cantilevered shaft 

  • Automatic shaft handling 

  • Automatic shaft extraction

  • Automatic core insertion


Automatic core loading and tapeless transfer options save time and money by eliminating the need to tape or handle empty cores, shafts, and finished rolls. Additional benefits include eliminating serious injuries from handling heavy shafts or finished rolls.



Before You Buy:

  1. Discuss you needs with the winder manufacturer

  2. Consider price versus performance, especially for coextruded films and multiple slitting operations.